Dean Blevins, News 9 Sports Director
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Things change quickly in our business. Particularly regarding conference realignment. There are so many variables involved that the administrators seem to always describe things as "fluid."
As of late Sunday afternoon, after input from multiple sources in OKC, Tulsa, Norman and Texas, here's how I saw the status of how the conference realignment would impact Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
It looks like Oklahoma is headed to the Pac-12. Multiple sources confirm "a deal is done in principle, regardless of what Texas does." He quickly added, "But a deal is not done until the ink is dry."
The OU Board of Regents will meet Monday in Tulsa in special session. Contrary to what many expect, there is not expected to be a major announcement. I'm told the Regents will simply give President David L. Boren the authority to "make a deal, anywhere." However, there was movement in Austin Sunday evening toward the Pac-12, meaning there may end up being more to the Regents meetings in both Tulsa and Austin than I was originally told.
Even if there is no major announcement, one of my sources says "There's a lot of news that's getting ready to happen in the next 72 hours or so. We are putting together the final pieces before it can become official."
Another source said Sunday that "there is still some negotiating to do, based on how it will all fit…and how comfortable we are that no one will surprise us."
Oklahoma State would make the transition from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 with the Sooners. Oklahoma prefers that OU, Texas, OSU and Texas Tech join the Pac-12 together. "In a perfect world, we'd all four go together. But we can't wait on Texas."
One source said there is still some due diligence to take place. For example, if Texas jumps, the dollar value of Oklahoma increases in the eyes of the bean counters of the Pac-12. As one source put it Thursday, "It's pretty impressive if a conference can bring in OU and Texas together." Even though the "value" of OSU and Texas Tech are clearly not the same as their partners, the Pac-12 apparently sees enough value to make the additions.
Scheduling is also something up for debate. Instead of two, eight team divisions, a source says there is the possibility that "four, 4-team pods could be the best way to do it."
President Boren was extremely excited about a possible OU-Pac-12 partnership after conversations the parties had the second of September. Boren, a wise and savvy political creature, has been enamored with the prestigious standing of Pac-12 schools. He and his administration believed they've learned some avoidable mistakes from some of the litigious issues A&M experienced when it made public its intent to move to the SEC.
Although OU did have more options than just the Pac-12, the only realistic remaining option would be a rebuilt Big 12. "We are sensitive to the members of the Big 12, but when Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas A&M left, it's become too unstable," one OU source told me. They simply see the move west as too good an opportunity to pass up.
So unless Texas can find "several solid programs" to bring to the Big 12, my sources tell me that OU has decided to leave behind a flailing league that has been very good to it. At least in terms of wins and losses.
Barring the unforeseen, Boren and the Sooners are on the move. And they'd like to end things with another conference championship. Bob Stoops has his No. 1 ranked Sooners in a good position to make a Big 12 title run. It could be Stoops' eighth conference title in nine appearances in the conference championship game.
It's hard to walk away from that kind of success. But sometimes the bean counters win out. And there are apparently a whole lot of beans in the wild, wild west.